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Corcomroe Abbey

Corcomroe Abbey

Galway, Ireland

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Description Corcomroe Abbey is an early 13th-century Cistercian monastery located in the north of the Burren region of County Clare, Ireland, a few miles east of the village of Ballyvaughan in the Barony of Burren. It was once known as "St. Mary of the Fertile Rock", a reference to the Burren's fertile soil.The Romanesque ruins feature stone carvings that are considered to be among the finest in a Cistercian church in Ireland. The abbey appears in W.B. Yeats' play The Dreaming of Bones.GeographyLocationThe ruins are located around 800 meters east of the village of Bellharbour in Glennamannagh, a valley of the Burren. The closest larger village is Ballyvaughan, a few miles further west. The L1014 road passes close by the abbey. About a kilometer from the abbey are the ruined churches of Oughtmama. Although no stream was present at the site, several wells are located in the townland where the abbey stands, which provided water to the monastic foundation.HistoryA band of Cistercian monks came to the area from the abbey at Inislounaght in Co. Tipperary in the late 12th century. Sources vary as to the exact founding date (1180–1200). The foundation is attributed either to Donal Mór Ua Briain (Donald O'Brien), the patron of a number of other religious structures in the historic Thomond region, who died in 1194 or his successor Donough Cairbreach. If it is true that Corcomroe established a daughter-house in 1198 at Kilshane (Co. Limerick) the former is more likely. Alternatively, Kilshane may have been the first attempt by this group of monks to set up a monastery and after that failed in 1200, Corcomroe may have been the site of their second try. On stylistic grounds, the founding is thought to have occurred around 1205–10.

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